Do the Pause and Pivot …
…DURING MARKET DOWNTURNS TO GROW INSTEAD OF RETRACT
Swift market shifts require marketing pivots, but only if you think it heralds in a long-term economic slowdown. Deciding when to “stay the course” as a business owner or when to pivot marketing strategies and even operations makes the difference between a good business owner and a great one. We have some tips on how to do the Pause and Pivot, growing your market share and customer loyalty while competitors are retracting.
Step One: Pause to decide if the market shift is going to last beyond six months.
Right now, we are living through an unprecedented time of change due to the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. The shifts required to limit virus transmission will no doubt have longer-term impacts.
- Mainstream news offers back-to-back coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the actions taken or not taken by governments.
- We are hearing record reports of premiere sports associations canceling their seasons — NHL, NBA, amongst others. These cancellations strain the hospitality industry, travel, merchandisers, suppliers, local community facilities, and many more.
- Last week (March 12), the U.S. stock market halted mid-day for 15 minutes to help it stabilize, yet we still hear about investor uncertainty in response to how they feel leaders are handling the pandemic.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-quarantined after being exposed to the virus and is working remotely and virtually.
- Social disruption is prompting changes to how people work. Universities are moving to online course offerings and sending students home. Many public schools have closed or are in preliminary talks to do so. It is happening at varying times in different areas and to varying degrees in North America. But it is happening.
Coronavirus or COVID-19 has affected the health of communities worldwide, the COVID-19 action plan for business includes 8 steps that you can take to help your business survive the crisis. Click to read
These are unprecedented changes, no question about it. In China, the peak crisis lasted about four months. China is a high-volume exporter, and a supplier of many global brands’ manufacturing workers, recovery will take time. As a democratic dictatorship, the country may be able to ramp up faster than a free-market economy like ours. Companies who buy the supplies are now experiencing the impacts of virus spread, and their buyers are shifting their buying behaviors. What does this suggest? At least a year of wild west economics, where there is no normal amongst consumers.
It is time for local and regional businesses to shine.
Step Two: Pause to see what the needs of your buyers are.
If you think the downturn will last close to a year, then stay still for a breath or two and update your environmental scan. Answer these questions:
- What do your main buyers need?
- What difficulties will their businesses (or families in the case of C2C) encounter in the next year?
- What can your business pivot to assist?
- What is the opportunity cost of the pivot?
- What is your business risk of doing the pivot?
KNOWING THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS GIVES YOU DIRECTION.
Step Three: Pivot to Grow
- Watch cash flow.
- Find the buyers who need you now: prospect.
- Use social media as it can consume less marketing dollars.
- Work remotely.
LOOK AT YOUR MARKETING MIX.
Is it based on niche marketing and pinpointing only your primary target? Guess what: niche marketing ad spends are expensive and require shorter campaigns. Creative for multiple promotions in a year consumes cash. Choose marketing (and advertising) that spreads your message widely, connects with all ages and demographics, and costs less per “view.” That means truck advertising, billboards and digital marketing.
The beauty of Out-of-Home advertising (and transport truck advertising) in an economic downturn is that businesses receive maximum viewership with little ad spend.
What are some of the ways you may choose to Do the Marketing Pivot?
- Review what campaigns you are running, where, how and how long?
- Extend campaigns from 16 weeks to a year. You may need to change the creative, but this alone will extend your target audience and save money in content creation over the next year.
- Make every part of your marketing campaign work together. That synergy will net you more buzz and increased goodwill.
- If people are not circulating as much, is sponsorship of public events and gatherings a good idea? Think about virtual activities.
- Reach people where they live, in neighbourhoods and regions where they shop. The measurements of this will let you quickly identify the new buying behaviours and routines of your clients.
- Register for a free 30-min consult with one of our Brand Strategists. Click here to book a call.
We will make our brand strategists available for free 30-min sessions to help other businesses rethink their marketing mix.
Why? Because when businesses survive the retraction and do well, economies recover faster.
We all win.
- Brad Adgate’s September 5, 2019, Forbes article titled When A Recession Comes, Don’t Stop Advertising
- Samuel Scott January 21, 2019 opinion piece in The Drum titled “If There’s a Recession in 2019, Here’s What Marketers Should do”.
Both offer behind-the-scenes media planner perspectives.